Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

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Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris on January 26, 2006.jpg
Dayton and Faris on January 26, 2006
Born (1957-07-07) July 7, 1957 (age 64)
Alameda County, California, U.S. (Dayton)
(1958-10-20) October 20, 1958 (age 63)
Los Angeles County, California, U.S. (Faris)
OccupationFilm directors, music video directors
Notable work
Little Miss Sunshine
Ruby Sparks
Battle of the Sexes

Jonathan Dayton (born July 7, 1957) and Valerie Faris (born October 20, 1958) are a team of American film and music video directors who received critical acclaim for their feature film directorial debut, Little Miss Sunshine (2006). Later the married couple directed the romantic comedy-drama Ruby Sparks (2012), and the biographical sports drama Battle of the Sexes (2017). Their most recent directing project is the Netflix comedy series, Living with Yourself, starring Paul Rudd, which premiered on October 17, 2019.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Dayton was born in Alameda County, California, and grew up in Grass Valley, California. After graduating from Ygnacio Valley High School in Concord, California, he attended the UCLA Film School, studying film and television in the late 1970s; while there, he met Valerie Faris, a dance student and native of Los Angeles County, California, who became his wife and his partner. They have three children together.[2] Valerie is the daughter of Paula Forbes, a supervising painter, and Jim Faris, a film editor.[3]

As a pair, Dayton and Faris have directed and produced music videos, documentaries, commercials and films. They have directed music videos for bands such as Oasis, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, and R.E.M. Their 1996 video for "Tonight, Tonight" by The Smashing Pumpkins won six MTV Video Music Awards. Another of their videos that found significant success was for the 1990 Extreme song "More Than Words".[4]

They directed a number of sketches for the 1995-1998 HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show.[4]

In 1998, they established a production company, Bob Industries. Through this company the pair directed commercials for companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Volkswagen, Sony, GAP, Target, IKEA, Apple Computer, and ESPN. The two directed a 1999 commercial for the Volkswagen Cabrio, titled Milky Way, whose soundtrack consisted entirely of the 1972 Nick Drake song "Pink Moon", and which is credited with initiating a massive revival of interest in Nick Drake's music.[5]

They began to be offered feature films to direct at around this time; among projects that they turned down were The Mod Squad (1999) and Bad Boys II (2003).[4]

In 2001, they began to work on the film Little Miss Sunshine; it was released in 2006.[4] The film won the Audience Award at the 2006 Sydney Film festival and an ovation at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. Their directing style for the film involved a high level of improvisation to allow the actors to create organic connections to the roles.[6]

In 2006, the pair were announced as the directors of a planned screen adaptation of Tom Perrotta's novel The Abstinence Teacher for Warner Independent Pictures.[7] In 2007 Perrotta wrote a screenplay with input from Dayton and Faris.[8] However, by 2012 they had left the project, and it was taken over by director Lisa Cholodenko.[9]

Their next film was Ruby Sparks in 2012. Dayton and Faris then directed Battle of the Sexes, about the tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, with Emma Stone as King and Steve Carell as Riggs. The film also stars Elisabeth Shue, Alan Cumming, and Sarah Silverman; it was released in 2017.







  1. ^ Petski, Denise (August 10, 2018). Paul Rudd To Topline Netflix Comedy Series 'Living With Yourself' From Timothy Greenberg. Deadline.
  2. ^ "Jonathan Dayton Biography". IMDB.
  3. ^ "Jim Faris Dead: Film Editor, Father of Director Valerie Faris, Dies at 97". Hollywood Reporter. 2016-11-04. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  4. ^ a b c d Evans, Bradford (July 19, 2012). "The Lost Projects of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris". Splitsider. Archived from the original on September 26, 2017. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  5. ^ Vaziri, Aidin (April 11, 2000). "Nick Drake's "Pink Moon" is Rising". Rolling Stone.
  6. ^ Huttner, Jan. "Jan Chats with Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton About their new film LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE". FF2 Media. Retrieved April 11, 2020.
  7. ^ LaPorte, Nicole, and Pamela McClintock. "'Sunshine' duo in talks for next feature: Dayton, Faris may adapt 'Abstinence Teacher'", Variety, 2006-12-06. Retrieved on 2007-07-07.
  8. ^ Schwartz, Missy. "The Q&A: Tom Perrotta: His Novel Take on Suburban Life", Entertainment Weekly, 2007-10-15. Retrieved on 2007-10-20.
  9. ^ Vineyard, Jen (May 11, 2012). "Exclusive: Lisa Cholodenko Confirms She'll Direct 'The Abstinence Teacher' & Heads Into The 'Wild' With Reese Witherspoon". IndieWire > The Playlist.
  10. ^ "Britney Spears, "When Your Eyes Say It"". (video). ASG. 1998–2017. Retrieved 29 January 2017.

External links[edit]